We've talked about the well-deserved designation of Route 12 in southern Utah as a Scenic Byway.
We headed east from UT 89 on 12, and this was the scene that greeted us on our way to our campground in Cannonville. The magnificence of the landscape caught us by surprise. An earlier sign had alerted us to entering the Dixie National Forest, so we were expecting to see firs and pines covering the hillsides.
Almost immediately after rounding the bend shown above, we were greeted by the first of two "tunnels" through glorious red rock formations.
What followed was a series of "Look! Look!" directives as we passed one brilliantly colored formation after another.
Since we were on our way to the campground, we were not able to stop at the scenic overlooks with our 50+ feet of metal.
But the glimpses we grabbed along this two-mile stretch of Highway 12 were sufficient to convince us to return the first chance we had.
The photographs here were taken on that return.
It was too early in the season for the Visitor Center to be open, so we were on our own to determine where the trails were.
Some of the trails left from the Center, so we got started on a couple of different trails. We hiked portions of them, but without markings and maps, I'm sure we ventured off the trails at times.
Red Canyon did not have the grand vistas present in Zion and Bryce, but there were several smaller scenes of grandeur.
I don't know if some of these formations have names, but they really didn't need any viewer-granted identity. Even without guidebooks and maps, the formations identified themselves very successfully.
Red Canyon was a surprise. We had not planned on spendinng time in the Dixie National Forest--not realizing the gem that the Forest contained.
We wondered how many people miss lingering at Red Canyon because they do not have enough time to stop on the way to Bryce Canyon.